In the church at Philippi there was a division. This was headed up by two women—the worst sort of split any church can have! There’s always the possibility that it can become a real shin-kicker and hair puller!
Their names might easily have been Odious and Soon-touchy, if they were anything like what we find in churches today. Their actual names are found in Philippians 4:2.
Before Paul mentions any names, he makes clear two principles that must be at work when bringing unity to a divided church. In Philippians 2:3, 4, he sets these forth:
- Get rid of selfishness or vane thinking about your own worth, while at the same time considering others better than your self.
- Instead of being all—fired concerned with your own interests, for once in your life begin to put the interests of other before your own!
You can always find some way in which others are better than you—if you’re willing to prayerfully take an honest look (of course, as his words indicate, Paul would have you to look away from yourself in order to do so).
And, if you are concerned about furthering others’ concerns rather than your own, again, you’ll find ways of doing so.
The two principles are not hard to understand-just hard for quarreling people to follow. Repentance may be in order to be able to do so.
On those two points, he goes further in the verses that follow to show how that’s exactly what Jesus did for us. He selflessly put us first, going so far as to put our interests (salvation) before His manifested glory as the second Person of the Trinity. He was willing to stoop to becoming a man, to becoming a slave, to becoming a criminal who died on the cross—all for our sakes.
Think of His condescension the next time your foot gets stepped on, the next time someone disagrees with you, the next time you’ve been insulted, the next time . . . simply the next time! It isn’t a matter of who is right. The point is—how are you handling the relationship? Follow these two principles, and you will certainly be doing much to bring about unity. In unity, you can work out the differences!